Does Money Motivate Employees?

11.07.18Baylee Olsen

Money matters, but is that the whole package?

Business leaders put a lot of time and resources into finding top talent. We focus on finding the right person with the right skills, woo them to come work for us, get them in the door, and line them up with the tools needed to produce the work.

But it is vital to understand that what initially attracts new talent to your organization is not necessarily what will keep them.

It begs the question, how do we keep employees motivated, inspired and engaged?

Does Money Motivate Employees?

Is money the answer?

The question “is money the pivotal motivator” has been the subject of many studies over the last decade. The results have been complicated and confusing at best. The reason — we are dealing with human beings.

Each one of us is so diverse from the other — having our own needs, goals, and desires. Believe it or not, money isn’t as important to your employees as you might think and does not buy engagement.

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” Simon Sinek

To maintain an engaged workforce requires both tangibles and intangibles. You can pay your employees competitively, but that is not the key to their happiness. Once your employees’ basic needs are met, i.e., salary, the path to a motivated employee becomes a little more complex. A combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators are what keeps employees interested, invested and engaged.

Employees use pay as a measure to evaluate their value to their employer and compare their value to other employees. The feeling of being underpaid and undervalued is demotivating. Effective recruiting efforts and competitive compensation strategies allow you to bring in the best, most diverse workforce at a competitive rate, but what keeps them loyal and invested way beyond their introductory period?

What does your compensation package look like?

Let’s talk benefits and what you can provide beyond the paycheck to motivate and retain your employees.

• Pay competitively but offer other attractive incentives (pay is simply not enough)

• Provide benefits such as paid time off, 401k and insurance

• Offer perks, such as casual dress, fitness centers, bring your dog to work, appreciation lunches, etc.

• Ensure the role an employee holds with your company is a good fit and utilizes their talents

• Give praise, incentive rewards and opportunities for growth both publicly and privately

• Show appreciation, recognition, and support for your employees

• Encourage your employees to give you feedback and suggestions

• Listen to employee comments, complaints and ideas — this greatly increases their motivation as they feel heard and acknowledged

• Understand and support what matters to your employees outside of work — all of your employees are different and what motivates one person might not motivate another

• Provide them an opportunity to feel they are contributing to the greater good — to be driven from within to work toward a larger group goal

• Offering employees the chance to learn and develop new skills

• Demonstrate how you will help employees balance work and life in a way that empowers your employees but also makes business sense

• Openly communicate the vision of the company and future growth goals to all employees — invested and empowered employees are crucial to your success

all mighty dollar

When it comes to motivating and retaining a talented workforce, it simply does not come down to the “all mighty dollar.”

No employee works for money alone. There are indeed necessary factors that initially attract talent, but these factors are not what ultimately will satisfy long term.

The good news is that the heavy hitters that will keep your employees motivated to stay with your company will not cost you a lot, but will provide invaluable rewards. The entire compensation package is beyond an employee’s salary and encompasses an array of benefits that will lead to more productive, motivated and loyal employees for years to come.

Challenge your company to see beyond the traditional incentives and create a compensation package that aligns with your employees’ desires and beliefs, which in turn will attract and retain essential talent.

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